Okay, so my darling five-year-old was a T-Rex yesterday. All. Day. Long. That means that when he came to the dinner table, he wanted to eat only meat and only use his two-fingered hands to eat with. (Because, a T-Rex only has two fingers, Mom!) Needless to say, it didn't sit well with this "you must watch your manners at the table" mommy. I can't stand it when I see kids of a certain age eating with their hands. With the exception, of course, of chicken nuggets and french fries. I also cannot stand it when children do not sit in their seats, and on their bottoms. Getting up and wandering around annoys me to no end.
I've heard other mothers say that as long as their child is eating, they don't care how they eat. That is just ridiculous to me!
That is why I really take the time to try and teach what I think is considered modern day manners. I don't expect my children to be seen and not heard--which is exactly what was expected of me as a child. Instead, I want them to be polite individuals that don't push people out of their way in public, say please and thank you, and don't gross me out or embarrass me at the dinner table. So, last night, my little T-Rex ate with his fork...albeit he only used two fingers to hold it, but that was okay. And just because my son's favorite dinosaur happens to be a carnivore, doesn't mean T-Rex can't try something new--so the veggies were eaten too.
Experts say that it is best to model manners to children. They also suggest correcting them physically, not verbally, at the dinner table. That is something I will keep in mind for the future, because I do tend to get in the trap of "complaining" about behavior at dinner, which doesn't make for easy digestion for any of us. Handing my son a napkin will probably give him a better clue anyway than telling him fifty times to wipe his face.
It is not often I get to dine with a T-Rex, so it was a rather fun meal and I think we were able to watch our manners and still remember that sometimes a five-year-old just really needs to be a five-year-old. We left the stomping and the growling, however, for after desert!